The story behind the movement

Once upon a Mat...

In late 2012, Pilates teacher and budding educator Benjamin Degenhardt went on vacation, newly equipped with his first ever smartphone and a (signed) first edition of Joseph Pilates’ original book “Return to Life through Contrology” he just scored in an online auction. By the end of the vacation, his camera roll was full of videos he recorded to monitor his self-practice on the Mat, inspired by the original photography he saw in the book.

He selected screenshots from his workouts and compiled a folder of images that, one way or another, he wanted to share to start online conversations about the original Mat work. His husband suggested he could maybe create a “March madness for Pilates fans”, Benjamin added the “T” in the title, and posted one of the images every day in March.

As the end of the very first March MATness approached, its small but growing audience had one question: “Will you do it again next year?”

And so, March MATness became a thing. For the second run of the campaign, Benjamin gathered a group of industry peers and curated content for a blog. As the audience grew in 2014, it was clear that March MATness was destined to become a fully community-led event. Since 2015, the campaign is an open-source platform for anyone to join in, celebrate the Mat work, and interact with each other across the internet.

Celebrating Pilates around the world

9 years in, the movement continues to grow. In recent years, the hashtag has been used an average of 1,600 times per day in March and posted by Pilates fans in 20 countries around the globe.

The concept couldn’t be simpler: following the same schedule each year, every day in March is dedicated to one Pilates exercise, sometimes two. The posts have run the gamut from artsy photography, educational tutorials, poems and drawings, and have allowed the global Pilates community to connect in a powerful and positive way. 

Will you join us this year?

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